Talk to banjo players online. There are several banjo forums, such as the Banjo Hangout, that you can visit. Every banjo player has an opinion on the best strings, so it helps to hear what like-minded people suggest.
The best strings for a 5-string banjo are not necessarily the best for a 4-string banjo. Do you want a string that will be the longest? Do you want a string that sounds best? If you are planning on playing bluegrass, you may want to check out bluegrass legend JD Crowe’s signature strings, made by GHS. If you’re more interested in a jazz sound or a rock sound, another string may be preferred. That’s why talking to banjo players who have similar needs for yourself is a wise decision.
Go to a music store (or an online music store). If you do not know someone like handmade banjo strings, you need to go to your local music store to get some banjo strings. Call the music store in advance to make sure they carry banjo strings. Most major music stores (like Sam Ask or Guitar Center) should have banjo strings, but it never hurts to ask.
Ask the music store if they have a banjo specialist. Maybe the store has strings, but they do not have a ‘banjo person’. Ideally, you want to go to a store that has an employee who plays the banjo to show you the different options in person.
Try some banjos. Every music store that specializes in banjos will have some banjos for you to play. Maybe you can try a banjo that has some strings that fit your fingers.
Check out banjo forums for upcoming banjo festivals in your area. You can talk to people, and maybe try one of their banjos (although banjo players, like most musicians, may not want to let a stranger try their banjo).
Tips and warnings
Before you can sound like Earl Scruggs, you need some banjo strings for your banjo. With so many types of strings to choose from, however, you may feel a little overwhelmed. There are a few simple steps you can take to ensure you buy the best strings for your specific banjo needs.